CRESSKILL, N.J., Dec. 12, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Johnson & Johnson has reached an agreement to settle 8,000 lawsuits over defective DePuy Hip Replacement ASR devices — leaving another 4,000 to 5,000 lawsuits unresolved. The $2.5 billion settlement represents an important step forward in resolving the long-running hip replacement litigation. However, the settlement covers only patients who underwent replacement surgery. Cases involving other alleged health consequences remain to be dealt with in future litigation. Meanwhile, DePuy plaintiffs' attorneys have accumulated enormous out-of-pocket expenses through the lengthy complex litigation. For their relief, RD Legal Funding, LLC ("RD Legal") is making immediate attorney settlement funding available as soon as settlement amounts have been finalized.
The ASR XL metal-on-metal (MoM) hip implant device produced by the DePuy Orthopedics subsidiary of J & J began being sold in the United States eight years ago. Plaintiffs' damages are based on the amount of time between their implant surgery and the device's failure. For replacement surgery after implantation:
- Five years or less: $250,000 (the maximum amount)
- After five to six years: a maximum of $225,000
- Six to seven years: a maximum of $200,000
- Seven to eight years: a maximum of $175,000
Experts estimate medical expenses, which J & J has agreed to pay separately, could add another half billion dollars or more to the settlement cost. August 31 is the cutoff date for replacement surgeries covered under the settlement. However, patients who receive a replacement after that date retain their ability to sue Johnson & Johnson.
DePuy received repeated warnings about the failure rate of the MoM devices before they were voluntarily recalled in August 2010. The Australian National Joint Replacement Registry warned DePuy 17 times about ASR problems between 2007 and 2009. In March 2011, the British Hip Society and British Orthopedic Association reported that revision rates for the ASR at four years were 21 percent and after six years, 49 percent. DePuy's own estimates, recorded in an internal document dated 2011, were that the device would fail within five years in 40 percent of implant patients.
The recent settlement excludes non-replacement health hazards. The rubbing of the component parts of these hip replacement devices allegedly sheds metal into the surrounding bone and soft tissue which has been linked to increased metal ion levels in the blood; damage to the central nervous system including thyroid and heart; and poisoning of major organs causing genetic changes and increasing cancer risks, particularly to the kidneys and bladder. As early as April 2010, the United Kingdom's Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency issued a medical device alert recommending regular blood tests for MoM implant patients. The U.S. FDA recommends routine blood tests for metal ion levels in patients with any of these symptoms:
- General hypersensitivity reaction (skin rash)
- Neurological changes including sensory changes (auditory, or visual impairments)
- Psychological status change (including depression or cognitive impairment)
- Renal function impairment
- Thyroid dysfunction (including neck discomfort, fatigue, weight gain, or feeling cold)
J & J will address these and other health issues when dealing with the outstanding hip replacement lawsuits.
For more information about post-settlement financing, DePuy plaintiffs' attorneys are urged to contact Joseph Genovesi, President of RD Legal, at 1-800-565-5177, ext. 140 or visit http://www.legalfunding.com. Founded in 1998, RD Legal is now one of the nation's leading providers of lawsuit settlement funding to attorneys and plaintiffs.
SOURCE RD Legal Funding, LLC